BETHLEHEM TIMES NEWS Area wrestlers enjoyed a solid opening night at the District 11 wrestling tournament, with nine advancing to the semifinals today.
Panther Valley's Lenny Ogozalek defeated Schuylkill Haven's Dalton Werley and Williams Valley's William Girard to earn a return trip to the semis at 106 pounds. Ogozalek likes his chances, even as the second seed in the tournament.
"I feel great about my first two wins," Ogozalek said. "I had a great last match, which was really close.
"Going into the semis I feel like I have a great shot at a win there."
Ogozalek has been battling asthma all season but is feeling good going into the second day of the tournament.
"I've been working hard all season and overcame a lot of stuff," Ogozalek said. "I just hope to place and keep moving on through this tournament."
A matchup of two TN wrestlers looms at 113 pounds, with Palmerton's Josh Evans going against Tamaqua's Colin Mashack. Mashack and Evans both cruised into the semifinals, earning tech fall wins in the quarterfinals.
After an injury earlier this season, Mashack is looking forward to having another chance at returning to the finals.
"I feel like I'm pretty well-prepared," said Mashack. "My starting match was a good opener because he has similar styles to (Josh) Evans that I noticed, so that was pretty good."
Mashack hopes his usual routine will continue to produce good results on the second day.
"Tomorrow I'm just gonna keep the same warmup, same everything," Mashack said. "It's been working pretty well so far."
Two area wrestlers will also be in the semifinals at 152 pounds, with Jim Thorpe's Brian Ohl taking on Saucon Valley's Travis Buddock and Northern Lehigh's Ty Herzog taking on Bethlehem Catholic's Mark Maloney.
As the No. 1 seed, Herzog feels confident about his chances of advancing in the tournament.
"I've been feeling great so far," Herzog said. "I've trained two hard weeks just for this tournament, so I'm really excited.
"I can't wait to get back into it tomorrow."
Herzog has already come up with a plan of attack against Maloney and how he wants to approach the match.
"I think I can definitely beat him on his feet," Herzog said.
"I'm just going to try and keep him working and just keep him on his heels and take it from there, wherever it goes."
Jim Thorpe coach Shawn Albert likes Ohl's chances, even though he will face stiff competition.
"He's undefeated in this season right now," Albert said.
"It's a new season in this tournament."
Northwestern's Mitchell Evans earned a bit of an upset at 160 pounds, coming in as a six seed and knocking off three seed Austin Hummel of North Schuylkill. Northwestern coach Jim Moll felt it was a win Evans deserved.
"He's the hardest worker in the room," Moll said. "The kid is coachable; if you had a team full of him you're happy as a coach."
Evans' next match will be tough, as he faces two seed Connor Hedash of Bethlehem Catholic.
Northwestern also has Mike Ortiz in the semis at 170 pounds. As the No. 1 seed, Moll felt Ortiz did what he needed to on the first night of the tournament.
"He's focused and knows what he wants," Moll said. "It's not about having a great match at this point.
"It's about winning and advancing."
Panther Valley will also send two to the semifinals, with Richard Nase moving on at 195 and Rian Shubeck continuing his season at 285.
Shubeck likes his chances on the second day, even though he will face tough competition.
"I feel really good and I'm just trying to stay offensive as much as I can," Shubeck said. "I'm just gonna try to take it to them."
Action will resume today with the Class AA semifinals starting at 10:30 a.m. at Freedom High School.
The consolation and championship finals will be at Liberty High School at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.